Kayak duo set to paddle across the English Channel

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A PAIR of intrepid brother-in-laws-to-be are planning on crossing the English Channel in kayaks to raise cash for Cancer Research.

Piers Bucknell and Andy Curtis hope to make more than £5,000 by paddling their two-man kayak all the way from Dungeness in Kent to Cap Griz-Nez in Northern France.

But while it may seem a herculean task to most people, one of the rowers is more than prepared for the rigours of using oar power to get by.

Twenty-five year old Piers, of Lewes Road, is a hugely experienced kayaker and has competed at both national and international level, representing Great Britain at the 2003 world championship. He has paddled in New Zealand, Africa and all across Europe.

Andy, on the other hand, is not quite so au fait with the watersport.

The 28-year-old, of Pentland Close, Langney, is a self-confessed absolute beginner.

And he is a beginner who now faces covering 26 miles of open water in around four hours in September.

Piers said, “Up until a month ago the closest Andy had got to water was the occasional shower.

“Since then we have been paddling regularly together, training hard for the challenge and by September we will be more than ready for anything the English Channel can throw at us.”

The duo have secured sponsorship of a specialist sea kayak, kindly supplied by System X, Europe’s largest kayaking equipment distributor and Valley Sea Kayaks.

However the regulations that cover ‘unorthodox crossings of the channel’ stipulate they must be accompanied by a support boat.

The cost of that boat is £700 so they are currently looking for local businesses to come on board and back their bid.

“In return,” added Piers, “the sponsors’ names would feature in all advertising and promotions and we’d be happy to display their logos on our boat during training and on the crossing itself.”

He added, “Sadly, the event has been prompted by a recent serious illness in the family so any sponsorship local companies can offer would be greatly received and would help us achieve our goal of raising money for a very worthwhile charity.

Anyone interested in supporting the cause should contact Piers on 07732 073479 or Andy on 07921 483094 or online at either www.bigpaddlechallenge.co.uk or www.facebook.com/bigpaddlechallenge.

Alternatively, anyone who wants to sponsor the pair can do so at www.justgiving.com/bigpaddlechallenge.